“My future looks bleak”: Children’s lives one year since the Taliban take-over

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Save the Children

When the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the international community reacted swiftly. Billions of dollars in international aid were withdrawn and Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves were frozen. The economy went into freefall and public services collapsed. In the past 12 months, poverty, food prices, and unemployment have dramatically increased, and drought continues to tighten its grip on the country.

Almost 50% of the population in Afghanistan is under 15 years old, making this humanitarian crisis, a children’s crisis. Therefore, we must hear from children themselves about how their lives have changed in the past twelve months, what challenges they face, and what they think aid organisations should know and do, moving forward. Supporting children’s right to participation, Save the Children consulted with 240 children – 122 girls and 118 boys – between 9 and 17 years old (inclusive) across 28 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), covering seven provinces in Afghanistan. Data collection took place from 29 May to 2 June 2022.

Both the restrictions introduced since the Taliban has taken control and the economic crisis have changed children’s daily lives. In the findings section, we explore:

  • Changes in children’s protective environment
  • Harmful strategies to cope with change
  • Changes in children’s opportunities to learn
  • Changes in children’s opportunities to play and meet friends
  • Changes in children’s meals
  • Changes in children’s physical health and hygiene
  • Changes in how children feel
  • Children’s vision of the future

The last part of the report presents recommendations from the children themselves, as well as recommendations from Save the Children. In addition, there is an adolescent version of the report, which will be translated and used to share the report findings with children in Afghanistan.

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